LeasePlan, a Dutch auto lease financing company half-owned by Volkswagen, has launched an internet savings bank in the Netherlands.

The new savings bank will operate under the name LeasePlan Bank and offer savings products to individuals, companies and institutions. LeasePlan Bank customers can choose from an internet savings account and fixed term deposit accounts with various periods of maturity.

Although LeasePlan has traditionally funded itself independently through the money and capital market, LeasePlan Bank was launched to bolster its capital base and finance some of its future funding needs through consumer and corporate savings.

With a balance sheet of around EUR17bn, LeasePlan’s annual funding requirement is approximately EUR3.5bn. These funds are used to finance car lease contracts with terms of three to five years. LeasePlan already has experience managing the funds of companies and institutions.

The bank, which is targeting deposits of EUR1bn to 2bn within two to three years, is offering a transparent interest rate of 2.53%. This rate is composed of the Euribor rate plus a mark-up. For 2010, this mark-up will be 2.10%. The interest rate will be adjusted monthly based on the one-month Euribor rate.

LeasePlan Bank customers can also choose to save their money for a longer period, through one of the fixed term deposit accounts. These accounts are available for three, six and nine months, as well as one, two, three, four and five years. The interest rate ranges from 2.6% for three-month deposits to 4% for five-year deposits.

Guus Stoelinga, CFO of LeasePlan, said: “We are proud of the fact that we can offer Dutch consumers and business customers a fair and transparent savings product. We are committed to the careful management of these funds and will invest them only in LeasePlan’s core activities, namely vehicle leasing. Raising funds on the savings market will give LeasePlan the advantage of being able to further diversify its funding.”

LeasePlan has held a banking license since 1993 and is supervised by the Dutch Central Bank.